AM General announced today that it will officially unveil its civilian offering, the HUMVEE C-Series, at the International Defense Exhibition & Conference in Abu Dhabi next week. The venue and locale isn’t an odd place for AM General to be exhibiting, but the choice to unveil a civilian model on the other side of the world at a conference that civilians aren’t allowed to attend begs the question: Is the C-Series actually meant for….civilians?
The release even says, “The HUMVEE C-Series Kit is designed and intended only for civilian commercial use and will not be sold for military purposes,” yet…it’s debuting at a conference that in order to attend you must prove to be a “bonafide member of the defense industry.”
AM General – this is your chance to do something remarkable. Please don’t screw it up.
To be sure, even a kit-car civilian Humvee wouldn’t be a vehicle just anyone would purchase – but the fact the first audience to lay eyes on it will governments and defense contractors is indicative that AM General doesn’t believe that civilians in North America are the target market.
That’s not to say that civilians weren’t, or aren’t still in the target market – but perhaps the market approach has shifted after lackluster demand over the last three months on the ordering site. We can’t confirm low ordering levels, but requests for information on volume or the ‘viability determination’ of the kit have gone unanswered by AM General – with today’s announcement being the only communication since October from the automaker.
We suspect the official line will be, “In addition to enthusiasts in the United States, AM General believes the C-Series will appeal to citizens around the world.”
Hopefully AM General will consult someone with civilian automotive marketing soon if they plan to actually sell to….civilians. Or, they’ll stop trying to pretend via a line in a press release that defense contractors or governments aren’t in their target market.
Complete release from AM General after the jump.